Qlusters Creates Plug-Ins for OpenQRM for Popular VM Hypervisors
Published: August 1, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
For the past year Qlusters has been undergoing a transformation from a vendor of cluster file systems for Linux and Windows machines to a vendor of open source systems management tools and one of the standard bearers for a consortium of open source system management tools. To demonstrate its openness, Qlusters last week announced that it had created plug-ins for the openQRM project it runs to allow this software to manage various virtual machine hypervisors.
OpenQRM is a system management tool that has its own variant of a virtualized, abstracted software layer, which William Hurley, who is chief technology officer at Qlusters, calls a "partition engine," that was used to provision physical servers. This software has been extended so it can now support the management and provisioning of virtual machines based on VMware's GSX Server (now called simply VMware Server and available for free) and XenSource's open source Xen hypervisor, which is being embedded in this year's Linux distros from Novell and Red Hat as well as in the future Longhorn Server implementation of Windows thanks to a deal between Microsoft and XenSource announced last week. OpenQRM will also be able to manage computing instances (for lack of a better word) based on the QEMU open source processor emulator, which is used to run Linux applications compiled for one computing architecture and which can be extended to emulate a complete system, including peripherals, allowing, for instance, for a Windows operating system to run on a Linux machine. Finally, Hurley says that openQRM has a plug-in that will now allow it to manage Linux VServer instances, which are virtualized server slices that share a common kernel and file system and are analogous to Solaris containers, BSD jails, and the openVZ containers created by SWsoft for Linux and Windows machines.
OpenQRM, says Hurley, has had 24,000 downloads since the announcement of the open source project back on January 30, and has attained hundreds of installations. Qlusters has eight internal developers dedicated to the project, and the openQRM community now boasts two dozen programmers who contribute through the open source project. While openQRM is free and allows companies to manage servers using a centralized system management server, if you want support, it costs money. The basic Web-based, 24x7 support costs $750 per managed server per year, and if you want to go all the way and use some proprietary extensions to get openQRM Enterprise, it costs $1,250 per year per each managed server. This enterprise edition of the software can do physical to virtual or physical to physical server instance management, through a feature called transparent application migration. This will be more useful when openQRM supports VMware's flagship ESX Server hypervisor, which it is expected to do in September.
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